3rd Feb 2013 2:24pm | By Craig Sheather
I’m sitting at a roulette table in the famous Golden Nugget Casino.
There are four tall towers of chips rising off the surface in front of me like skyscrapers.
A small crowd has gathered to watch the result.
The croupier spins the wheel and then rolls the ball around the track. All I need is black.
The anticipation is unbearable. The ball loses momentum and falls onto the wheel.
It bounces around and then eventually settles in its final resting pocket.
There is a gasp from the onlookers. My heart sinks. It’s red! It all happened so quickly.
Before I knew it Las Vegas had seduced me, sucked me in and bled me dry.
I had won and lost my fortune in the blink of an eye.
One moment I was on top of the world and the next I was crying in my beer.
Like many punters before me, greed was my downfall. Damn you, Vegas!
From underground illegal gambling dens to the boom of the glitzy mega-resorts, punters have always been attracted to Vegas like a moth to a light bulb – and there are plenty of bright lights to be dazzled by.
Even when Nevada tried to outlaw gambling in 1910, unauthorised games were quickly set up for those who liked a flutter, and patrons who knew the password continued to joust day and night with Lady Luck.
Authorities turned a blind eye and gambling flourished until 1931 when it was legalised again.
Today, tourists flock to the city not just to gamble, but also for the fantastic entertainment, world class restaurants and the chance to drop in on one of the wonders of the natural world, the nearby Grand Canyon.
It’s one heck of a playground.Disappointed by my roulette loss, I reluctantly exit the Golden Nugget and stroll onto Fremont Street. My mood’s instantly changed by the electric atmosphere.
This stretch is home to legendary casinos, free entertainment, old-fashioned gambling hospitality and a party atmosphere.
On any given night you can expect to see famous bands, strolling showgirls, celebrity impersonators or amazing street performers.
The most obvious and largest part of the Fremont Street Experience is the Viva Vision canopy and light show.
The canopy towers 90-feet above the ground and spans the length of five football fields, while the screen contains 12.5 million synchronised LED lamps, making its projection surface the largest screen in the world.
Each night on the hour the show features tributes to Bon Jovi, Queen, Kiss and other rock legends and, best of all, thrill-seekers can breeze right beneath the Viva Vision canopy on a zip line.